Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

10 Things That Good Managers Never Say to Their Employees

By Charles Trivett | Oct 10, 2016 | Staff Retention

Good Managers QuoteGood managers nurture and support their staff so that they feel loved, inspired and valued; like a real part of something great.

Good managers do not make excuses, shy away from interaction, and they certainly do not threaten their staff.

It’s time to ban these phrases (and attitudes) from the working world, for good…

1. “You’re lucky you have this job.”

Condescending much?

There are a number of reasons why this statement (or similar) is an absolute no-no for managers.

Firstly, who are you kidding? If you have to reiterate how great the job is, how lucky your staff are and how plentiful the opportunities are – then it’s probably just not the case.

Secondly, threatening and insulting your staff members will put them on edge, make them feel completely undervalued and the stress could cause them to overwork and eventually burn out.

And of course this means your company culture will suffer; your brand, customer service and general productivity will suffer and your entire business will suffer.

Recruiter Pro Tip

Get over yourself!

If your employee actually can’t do their job very well, it’s your fault for hiring them in the first place and it’s your responsibility to step in and support them to get better – or to let them go.

Click here to check out our blog post on dealing with underperformers.

Step into your employee’s shoes for a moment. How would YOU feel if someone kept repeating “you’re so lucky” over and over again?

2. “I don’t have time.”

A good manager will make time.

If your employee approaches you with an issue, question or idea, don’t brush them off with…

  • “That has nothing to do with me”
  • “Stop wasting my time.”
  • “I’ve got more important things to worry about.”

They’ve obviously approached you for a reason even if it’s just to get a pat on the back or “yes, I think that’s the right thing to do” (we all need a bit of reassurance, occasionally).

If you keep shunning your employees, then they’ll feel undervalued and unimportant and you’ll soon see the company culture suffer.

Of course, they may also make a mistake and then you only have yourself to blame!

3. “Leave it at home.”

It’s odd and kind of frustrating when people say things like…

  • “Personal circumstances shouldn’t affect your work.”
  • “You’ve got to keep your professional and working life completely separate.”
  • “It’s not personal.”

Work is personal.

We spend the majority of our week working and we’ll all experience highs and lows in our personal lives, it’s almost impossible to not bring it into the office.

Sometimes, you may need to support your employees with personal issues, sometimes you may need to bend the rules to help them out and sometimes you may need to give them the benefit of the doubt.

They’ll respect you so much more for it and they bound to work a lot harder for you when they do get back to their normal selves.

Telling someone to “leave it at home” will just force them to hide their emotions, probably cause them to get even more stressed and worried – and that’s when people burn out.

Check out this great blog post on the topic.

4. “You’ve got some big shoes to fill.”

This is definitely a sure fire way to terrify your new employees…

  • “So-and-so used to do it this way.”
  • “So-and-so was the best employee we ever had.”
  • “You’ll get there.”

By idolising your previous staff member, you may think that you’re motivating the newbie but in truth, it just puts an enormous amount of pressure on them to “live up to expectations.”

They’ll constantly feel insecure about the work they’ve done, they’ll feel undervalued and they’re bound to crack eventually.

Give them a break and try to judge them as an individual, not based on other staff members.

5. “Everything is GREAT.”

Is it though?

If you keep your employees in the dark about your company (good or bad) then they’re bound to feel unsure, undervalued and unloved.

As far as possible, keep an open line of communication with your team, informing them of any changes that will affect them and offering honest answers to any worries, concerns and general questions that they may have.

In return, they’ve feel like a valued and important part of your team and will care much more about the success of your business.

Your staff would rather hear the “bad” than be shielded from it until it’s too late.

6. “It’s always been this way.”

To be a great manager, you must be ready for change and to adapt the way you and your team work, to become more efficient and more relevant.

Your staff are the ones who are in the trenches every day, they have first-hand experience of the way things work and are the in the best position to make suggestions about how to improve things.

If you’re not willing to listen and consider other people’s ideas, then how can your company ever grow and progress?

You should also always be willing to invest in training. This will increase employee engagement and happiness (they’ll care about your business) and it will also mean you have more skills at your fingertips.

Don’t be scared of change.

7. “Doesn’t matter; it’s only a small sale anyway.”

Ever say anything like this to your employees..?

  • “Don’t take too much time on their project, they got a discounted rate.”
  • “What do they expect? They’re hardly paying anything at all.”
  • “Oh, ye that client’s a nightmare.”

Realistically, some clients will be more important (and less annoying) than others.

But, you don’t want everyone to know that!

If you encourage your employees to take more care, to work harder and to be more polite towards certain clients, they’ll take that on board and your entire business’s reputation will suffer.

(It only takes one bad review on a site like Trust Pilot – or on social media).

Not to mention the fact that you could potentially be losing great clients (who return to spend more money, refer loads of other people etc.) on the assumption that they’re “not important” enough.

And do you actually trust your employees to make the decision between “good client” and “bad client?” (For example, a tricky-to-work-with client could still bring in the mega-bucks).

You need to make sure all of your clients are treated well. It’s just less risky.

8. “The customer is always right.”

On the other hand, it’s important to remember that your employees are humans too and you shouldn’t sacrifice their happiness, for the sake of your clients.

They need to know you’re on their side, you’ve got their back and that you value them as people, and you don’t just see them as cogs in a machine.

For example, it is never ok for a client to verbally abuse your staff.

I know, some of your employees may be great at customer service and will deal with it themselves, but it’s still important for you to make it clear that you’re there if they need support and back up.

And if things get really heated, it’s a good idea to step in yourself.

Obviously, it’s up to you whether you want to sack off the client altogether (I know circumstances vary across industries) but it’s worth considering whether you can and want to work with someone like this in the first place…

9. “I hate my job.”

Most people know that moaning about their job, to their boss, is a big no-no.

But it works both ways!

I’ve heard managers saying…

  • “I just don’t care anymore.”
  • “I hate this company.”
  • “Life sucks. Work sucks. Just get on with it.

And this kind of negativity will quickly filter down through all levels of your business.

Recruiter Pro Tip

If you really do hate your job – then maybe you should think about getting a new one…

You’re not doing anyone (including yourself) any favours by dragging yourself into work every day and then moaning constantly about how you don’t want to be there.

Honestly, life’s just too short to hate your job.

10. “You’re sacked because my wife thinks you’re too sexy.”

I didn’t want to include number 10 because, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, it’s a pretty damn obvious one – NEVER say anything inappropriate to your employees.

That includes:

  • Insults. Like “you’re actually NOT smarter than an average bear.”
  • Oversharing. Like “why doesn’t anybody love me?”
  • Inappropriate “banter.” Like “why is he so angry? It must be the ginger rage.”

But apparently not everyone got the “obvious” memo. Yes, these are all real life examples of things bad bosses have said to their employees.

(Click here to see more of them!)

I mean, we’ll let you off a little bit of swearing if that’s the way your office is, but never at staff or about other people.

Would you like more advice?

If you’d like to read more about how to become a great manager, check out these posts:

Or feel free to subscribe to this blog – HERE – and we’ll send across a quick weekly update with our latest recruitment, HR or Management post.

Good luck.

- Charles Trivett
Charles - blog author

Charles Trivett

Charles heads up Coburg Banks’ IT Division, and has worked in recruitment for nearly 20 years.  His knowledge of how to optimise and get the most from a recruitment campaign is second to none, and he now works with a select handful of clients in maximising their recruitment ROI.

> More blog posts by Charles Trivett

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